Let’s Go to the Movies…Or Not

This week’s post is purely my own opinion about the state of Hollywood movies these days, so some of you may disagree with my thoughts. That’s fine. I welcome varying opinions and ideas.

My husband and I enjoy watching movies and go to see them frequently.  Anything we miss on the big screen, we will usually see on pay-per-view.  If you’ve been to our house, you’ll see a half-way decent DVD collection as well.

Unfortunately, this past weekend we went to see a movie… and ended up walking out of it.  It reached a point where the violence and carnage were just too much.  We didn’t need to see all of that graphic detail. What was the point?  Just for shock value? 

Plus, we didn’t care about the characters. There wasn’t anything truly redeeming or heroic about the main character that made me care if he reached his goal.

It seems like we are at the point in movies where the filmmakers don’t trust their audience to use their imagination or be able to discern what’s really going on with the story, unless it’s shoved down our throat.  Every violent, awful detail is now shown, up close and in your face.  

And there are some movies where you cannot distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. Everyone is out for themselves or for revenge, and there’s nothing redeeming about any of the characters.

This sparked a discussion between my husband and myself about “growing older” and our “changing tastes” in movies.  Well, in this area, I’m glad to grow older.  I’m sorry we wasted our money on the movie this weekend, only to walk out of it.

Now my husband understands why I tend to watch certain movies over and over again. Most of the new stuff stinks.

Of course, I blame my film crit professor from the University of Texas (Hook ‘Em Horns) for my analysis of movies and watching them again and again.

It was because of his class that I became a fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies (pre-“Psycho”).  Hitchcock was a master of suspense by allowing the audience to use their imagination.  Sometimes your own imagination is scarier than what you are bombarded with in some of today’s films.

Take “Rear Window.” When Raymond Burr’s character is climbing up the stairs to Jimmy Stewart’s apartment. The audience hears the outside door slam,  the sound of the footsteps as he climbs, the pause outside the door, Jimmy Stewart’s face and his feeling of being trapped with no where to go are all evident, just from the sound of heavy, slow footsteps, and a bead of sweat coming down Stewart’s temple. The audience is scared right along with Jimmy!  Yes, there’s a “fight” scene, but it’s tame compared to today’s fight scenes.

It’s still a wonderfully, suspenseful scene with zero blood and gore.

I hope there’s more of a demand for cleaner movies — still fun, still suspenseful, still romantic — without gratuitous violence, nudity or crudeness.  Truly, it can be done.  The group who made “Facing the Giants,” and “Courageous” among others is trying to do this.  They don’t have the top-notch actors (I don’t mean to offend there), and Hollywood money backing them up yet, but at least the stories they’re telling are appealing and life affirming.

At some point, we have to quit paying to see the overly violent, made with the jerky camera (why this is suddenly so popular, I’ll never know) film, and let’s get back to stories about characters we care about.

Will Hollywood listen? Well, I’m not the audience demographic that they make movies for. I can only hope my children and the younger generation are really thinking about what they’re filling their minds with and where they’re spending their money. I guess that would be my prayer…. that we all pay closer attention to what we fill our minds with.

Oh, Jimmy Stewart, we sure could use you now!

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